A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Sedona vs. San Francisco for Attractions, Food, Hiking, and Families

Should you visit Sedona or San Francisco?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Sedona or San Francisco? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Sedona

Sedona is a striking, desert, and dramatic town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a eccentric, one-of-a-kind, and scenic coastal city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Visitors also love the beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Sedona and San Francisco: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge


Is there more to do in Sedona or San Francisco?

Tourists will generally find more to do in San Francisco. Although Sedona and San Francisco are both popular with visitors, San Francisco has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. San Francisco is more popular for its museums, theatre productions, food, music, beaches, hiking, and big city activities, while Sedona is known for its resorts, historical sights, and small town charm. San Francisco is more touristy than Sedona and is known for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. It is also home to The Golden Gate Bridge. Sedona is popular for its stargazing, desert setting, and yoga retreats.

How is Sedona different from San Francisco?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between San Francisco and Sedona. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Sedona or San Francisco?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its historical sights. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its sights and museums.

The museums and tourist attractions in San Francisco are world-renowned. The city's landmarks are as diverse as the people who live there. The most recognizable landmark is the famous Golden Gate Bridge, but visitors also enjoy seeing Alcatraz Island, the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the small but fascinating Cable Car Museum.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Sedona. The Sedona Heritage Museum offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the area. There are also many galleries around town.


Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Theater?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is a popular place for its theatre productions. However, Sedona is not a theatre destination.

If you have some extra time in San Francisco, take in a show. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Sedona is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Sedona or San Francisco? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its local cuisine and restaurants.

For foodies, San Francisco is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. There are local dives as well as five star restaurants, with everything in between. Popular local dining experiences include sourdough bread bowls and Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf, and dim sum in Chinatown. Head away from the touristy neighborhoods if you want to sample some of the more local restaurants around town.

Dining out in Sedona is an experience not to be missed. It's grown into a foodie destination with local restaurants that pride themselves on using local ingredients. Mexican food is common but you'll also find cafes, classic American food, and other international options.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Nightlife?

Sedona
San Francisco

The vibe at night is good in both Sedona and San Francisco.

If you're looking for night time activities Sedona has a few options to choose from. There are bars, live music venues, and even a casino in town. Breweries are popular and there are also upscale wine bars.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in San Francisco. It has a great nightlife with many local bars and trendy clubs. For the best nightlife away from the tourists, head to Valencia Street or Polk Street. If you want to be in a more touristy area, check out Union Square. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.


Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Music?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is a popular place for its live music scene. However, Sedona is not a live music destination.

The music scene in San Francisco is active and vibrant. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Sedona is not a live music destination.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Resorts?

Sedona
San Francisco

Sedona is a great town for its luxury resorts. However, San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Sedona is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Upscale resorts with spas, pools, and other amenities offer the perfect backdrop for a desert vacation.

San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Beaches?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for the beache. However, Sedona is not a beach destination.

San Francisco is considered a top beach destination. Whether you're interested in surfing or simply taking in the dramatic views, the beaches of San Francisco will take your breath away. Some of the best beaches include Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, and Muir Beach.

Sedona is not a beach destination.


Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for its Old Town?

Sedona
San Francisco

Sedona is a nice place to visit for its historic old town charm. However, San Francisco does not have a historic old town.

Sedona has an old town worth visiting. Traditional architecture and historic charm give downtown Sedona a lot of character.

San Francisco does not have a historic old town.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Hiking?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for hiking. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for the nearby hiking options.

People visit San Francisco specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. The city's hikes take in the dramatic views of the bay and city. Just outside of town there are also countless hikes through the Redwoods and along the coastline. Popular hikes in the area include Lands End, Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore, and Muir Woods.

Sedona is a popular spot for hiking. It's red rock cliffs offer the perfect setting for dramatic hikes and breathtaking views. The colors are most impressive at sunrise and sunset and some of the most famous landmarks include Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon.

Is the Shopping Better in Sedona or San Francisco?

Sedona
San Francisco

If you're looking to go shopping, Sedona and San Francisco both offer plenty of fantastic spots.

Known for shopping, Sedona draws large crowds to its stores. It's filled with local artisan shops and art galleries that highlight the region's beauty. Head to Uptown Sedona for some of the best boutiques. You should also check out the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, the Sedona Art Center, and Hozho Distinctive Shops and Galleries.

San Francisco is a world class destination for shoppers. The city has excellent shopping from local vendors to recognizable brands. Union Square, Embarcadero, Fillmore Street and Haight Street are some of the best neighborhoods for shopping.


Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Families?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, San Francisco is a very family-friendly destination. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination. There are also many amazing playgrounds with stunning views of the bay and city. Head to Chinatown for some unique and kid-friendly food, or down to Pier 39 for fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Sedona is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. There are impressive parks and fun outdoor activities for the whole family. Head to Slide Rock State Park where your kids can enjoy a natural waterslide. There's also the Out of Africa Wildlife Zoo as well as a canyon railroad.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Couples?

Sedona
San Francisco

Sedona is an amazing town to visit for couples. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for romance.

Sedona has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. Stargazing in the evening or picnicking in a park during the day. There are countless romantic activities that couples can enjoy. The area is filled with striking natural beauty that is at its best during sunset. Couples will also enjoy fine dining and a variety of outdoor activities.

San Francisco is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples enjoy the romantic backdrop of this beautiful city. There are world-class restaurants and plenty of spas that couples can enjoy during a honeymoon or romantic getaway. There are also many scenic walks and breathtaking views that couples can appreciate.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit San Francisco. The city is one of the more backpacker friendly cities in the United States. There are a handful of hostels throughout, many concentrated in the popular Union Square and Downtown neighborhoods of the city.

Sedona is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. You'll find campgrounds, RV parks, and motels in the area, but no real hostels.


Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Students?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Sedona is not popular with students.

San Francisco is a very popular coastal city for students and younger travelers. As a large and dynamic city, the area is popular with international students who want to experience this unique side of the United States. Major universities in the area include University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and nearby, the University of California, Berkeley.

Sedona is not popular with students.

Is Sedona or San Francisco Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for times when you don't have a car. However, Sedona is not a good destination for its public transit.

Visitors in San Francisco can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Public transit is generally limited in Sedona. Verde Shuttle offers shuttle routes through town.

Is Sedona or San Francisco a more walkable city?

Sedona
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for its high level of walkability. Also, Sedona is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its ease of walking around.

San Francisco is a very walkable coastal city. It is compact enough to explore on foot, but given the large hills, it's a bit of a challenge, even for the most fit among us.

Sedona is a somewhat walkable town. If you stay in Uptown Sedona, then the area is walkable, but if you're planning to stay further away then you'll need to have a car.


For even more information, also check out Is Sedona Worth Visiting? and Is San Francisco Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in San Francisco or Sedona?

How long in Sedona or San Francisco?

Both Sedona and San Francisco have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in San Francisco than in Sedona. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Sedona, and 3-7 days is enough time in San Francisco.

Families should spend more time in San Francisco than Sedona. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in San Francisco, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in San Francisco than Sedona. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in San Francisco that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Francisco than Sedona if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in San Francisco.


  • How many days in Sedona or San Francisco? Ideal Length of Stay
    Sedona 3-5 
    San Francisco 3-7

One day in Sedona or San Francisco?

Even though Sedona is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Don't miss the shopping, as that's what most people do. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

San Francisco is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Sedona or San Francisco?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sedona. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Don't miss the shopping, as that's what most people do. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

San Francisco is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Sedona or San Francisco?

Sedona is a small town with plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Francisco. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A week in Sedona or San Francisco?

Sedona is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

San Francisco is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, and The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, San Francisco or Sedona?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Sedona is $165, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $222. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Sedona and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sedona $93
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sedona $186
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Sedona and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Sedona or San Francisco? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Sedona


Hotels in San Francisco


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Sedona Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sedona $40
    San Francisco $16

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:


  • Taxi to SFO
    $45
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
    $6.00
  • Alcatraz Tour
    $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

Also for San Francisco, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to Cruise Terminal: $557
  • Carmel 1-Way Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport: $535
  • SFO Airport Private Transfer to/from Sacramento: $412
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $400
  • Private Airport Transfer: $375
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to San Francisco: $343
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Calistoga Resorts Round-Trip Transfer: $294
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Walnut Creek to SFO (one way): $269
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by SUV: $245
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $221
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Downtown city: $183
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Downtown to Airport (SFO): $183

Is it cheaper to fly into Sedona or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Sedona change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Sedona $48
    San Francisco $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sedona

For Sedona, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • The VIP Experience, Chuck Wagon Dinner and Show Tickets: $119
  • Sedona/Flagstaff: Grand Canyon Day Trip with Dinner & Sunset: $252
  • Cooking class and candlelit dinner with a view: $295

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Francisco

For San Francisco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $19
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Melting Pot of the Mission District Food Tour: $80
  • Buffet Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the Bay: $82
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $84
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sedona $19
    San Francisco $46
Typical Entertainment Prices in Sedona

For Sedona, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Red Rock Fantasy Light Show (for 2)
    $10

Tours and Activities in Sedona

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Sedona.

  • Sedona Soul Tour with Shamanic Guide: $295
  • 1-Hour Jeep Tour in Camp Verde: $120
  • 179 Sedona EBike Tour Cathedral Rock, Chapel & Heritage Museum: $165
  • 2 Hour Sedona Private Jeep Tour to Connect with Mother Earth: $150
  • 2 Hours Private Spiritual Healing Tour in the Nature of Sedona: $160
  • 20 mile Helicopter Tour in See Everything around Sedona!: $186
  • 3-Hour Sedona Spirit Journey and Vortex Tour : $222
  • Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park Sedona, Arizona Experience: $300
  • Arizona Audio Tour Guide in Sedona: $8.99
  • Arizona Ghost Adventure: $150
  • Best Sightseeing tour in Sedona Vortex and THE CITY VIP : $146
  • Best UFO Tour of Sedona: $110

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.

  • Private Walking Tour in Muir Woods and Tickets : $10
  • Streets and Stairways of San Francisco with Local Guided Tour: $50
  • 2 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Plus Night Tour: $85
  • 2-Hour Sunset Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2-Hour Sunset or Evening Private Jeep Tour of San Francisco: $169
  • 2hr - INTERACTIVE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2hr - SUNSET Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2hr PRIVATE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay 6 Guests: $795
  • 3 Hour Sightseeing Small Group Guided Tour in San Francisco: $89
  • 3-Hour Private Group San Francisco Open Top Jeep Tour: $249
  • 3hr PRIVATE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay 6 Guests: $895
  • 4-Hour Painted Ladies and Haight-Ashbury GoCar Tour: $272

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sedona $13
    San Francisco $22

Sample the Local Flavors in Sedona

Also in Sedona, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Bliss Sedona’s Most Luxurious Wine Tour with Lunch Included: $115
  • Grape Train Escape: Wine Tasting and Verde Canyon Railroad Adventure: $175
  • Best Value, Private Wine Tour, great for parties!: $195
  • Sedona-Jerome Scenic Vortex, Wine Tasting Grand Tour. See It All!: $199
  • Pedal and Paddle Wine Tour in Arizona: $235
  • 5 Star, Private Wine Tour, BEST in Town, TASTINGS INCLUDED!: $245
  • Private Wine Tour in Sedona, Arizona: $295

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:

  • Chinatown San Francisco’s Bar Crawl: An Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Private Self Guided Tour and Bar Crawl in Chinatown San Francisco: $5.00
  • SF Pub Crawl and Clubbing Experience: $25
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Small Group: Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour from San Francisco: $119
  • Big Bus Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $125
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Alcatraz and Sausalito California Wine Tasting Experience: $150


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sedona and San Francisco, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. And not only is Sedona much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sedona would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sedona and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in San Francisco would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in San Francisco than you might in Sedona.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Sedona Expensive? and Is San Francisco Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Sedona or San Francisco?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 70 times larger than the population of Sedona. When comparing the sizes of Sedona and San Francisco, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.